Current events in the global energy markets will be giving building and energy managers ‘food for thought’. But look a bit closer and it soon becomes clear why a review of energy usage and workplace wellbeing is actually very timely.
First reason – energy prices. No one can say that the sharp increase in tariffs was unexpected. The rise in wholesale energy costs – caused in large part by the ‘perfect storm’ of increased demand and reduced delivery into Europe – has been a talking point for 18 months. This has already meant huge increases in energy costs for companies. On top of the obvious struggles caused by the pandemic, it’s not surprising that so many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are wondering if this could now push them over the edge.
It’s no secret that the current political situation with Russia could make all this much worse. At present the country provides between 30 and 40% of Europe’s natural gas each year. Switching off or reducing supplies as a political bargaining move would undoubtedly send prices surging. With tensions rising, it’s inevitable that alternatives are being explored with some urgency.
Taken together, these factors strengthen the case for renewables and other energy sources. But right now, it also means it’s sensible to undertake a fresh energy review.
We think there are six key questions a building / energy manager should be asking about his / her organization’s energy use:
- Is there any obvious wastage in our current energy plan?
- Are all of our building systems operating effectively?
- Are we using occupancy sensors and other technologies that can help minimize wasted energy?
- Do we have a building management system that we can use to keep track of energy consumption?
- Which elements of our infrastructure can be improved as part of a longer-term energy reduction strategy?
And while building managers are mulling all this, they should also give thought to another pressing issue: Covid-19. Omicron is still rife and now we have BA.2 to worry about. Infections remain high across Europe, and so do staff absences. Lowering the risk of personnel contracting the virus – especially as people spend more time in the office again – is hugely important to firms.
With studies showing that regular intake of fresh air can reduce transmission rates, building managers should ensure that ventilation systems are up to the task.
Paying attention to these areas can save a lot of money for companies almost instantly. In the case of ventilation and other wellbeing measures, it can also bring major savings long-term due to reduced illness.
Fortunately, Priva is able to provide a range of solutions that can help make buildings healthier and more efficient.
We will take a look at some of these in part 2 of this article.